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Top Telecom Stocks That Are Unloved

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Telecom stocks are among the worst performers this year, falling an average of 11% and ranking 149th of 154 industry groups on the S&P 500. Still, the following five companies garner "buy" ratings from TheStreet's quantitative model.

5. Windstream (WIN - Get Report) provides telecom services in rural areas of the U.S.

The numbers: Fourth-quarter profit decreased 7% to $76 million, or 17 cents a share, as revenue declined 3% to $754 million. The operating margin contracted from 36% to 34%. Windstream holds $1.1 billion of cash and $6.3 billion of debt.

The stock: Windstream has dropped 5% over the past year, lagging behind major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 13, on par with competitors. It offers a 9.7% dividend yield, but an excessive payout ratio of 131%.

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